There’s a popular phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. That’s how I approach birthdays. At our age we don’t “need” anything.
So instead of buying yet another golf shirt or club for my golfguy’s birthday, every year I give him a golf experience. This year I chose Tobiano.
It had been a busy travel season for us and so I was a bit hesitant about giving him a golf trip, but my gifts had been successful in the past, so I thought, “If it ain’t broke…”
Imagine my chagrin when he said just before his birthday, “I’m sick of driving; let’s stay home the rest of the summer.” Yikes, had I made a mistake?
But he’s a gracious fellow and smiled when he open his card and said, “Oh thanks honey – how nice.” I knew he wasn’t thrilled even though I included a list of the awards Tobiano has already won since it opened in 2008:
BEST PUBLIC GOLF COURSE IN BC 2009 – SCOREGolf Magazine
BEST CONDITIONED GOLF COURSE 2009 – SCOREGolf Magazine
BEST NEW COURSE IN CANADA 2008 – SCOREGolf Magazine
BEST NEW CANADIAN COURSE 2008 – Golf Digest Magazine
He’d heard a lot about Tobiano, but what awaited us when we arrived caused both of our jaws to drop. Tobiano is nothing short of breathtaking.
The Natural Grasses And Desert Surroundings Are Backed By The Beautiful Kamloops Lake At Tobiano
As it meanders along a bluff above Kamloops Lake, Tobiano takes golfers on a journey they will never forget. If I can give one piece of advice on this course it is this – forget your score and just enjoy every shot because every shot requires your full attention on this challenging Thomas McBroom masterpiece.
But between shots, keep your head high as you walk to your ball to truly appreciate the splendour all around you. It was a beautiful fall afternoon with above average temperatures and above average winds (30 km constant with gusts up to 50).
In fact, the Starter said he’d never seen winds like that at Tobiano. But we didn’t care.
Take more club, practice your low stingers and play on was our attitude and those of our playing partners, Ken and Larry from Maple Ridge. They were a hoot!
As we laughed and trash-talked our way around the links, every couple of holes, we would stop and stare in amazement at what lay ahead and behind us.
The views were spectacular, the fairways pristine, the swaying native grasses brutal and the undulating greens fast and true. And when I say brutal I’m thinking of the first hole.
This is the #1 handicap hole for women and I can attest to that!
After hitting what I thought was a good drive in the middle of the fairway, I drove up to discover my ball had rolled all the way down to the left and nestled itself in the native grasses on a very steep slope.
After that hole, I did everything I could to keep my ball in the fairway. Which is why I took the long way around the almost drivable par 4 second hole.
The Par 4 2nd Hole Offers A Tempting ‘Go For It’ Option
Now this is a fun hole! From the tee, all you see are bunkers protecting the green, but the yardage is so tempting no golfguy I know could resist going for it.
The 7th hole was also one of my favourites. A short par 3 that’s all carry, it felt so good to go pin seeking on that hole.
Tobiano’s Par 3 7th Hole
The winds were playing havoc with our balls, and a few ended up in the canyon. Now we knew there was a drop area up near the green by the front bunker for those who didn’t make it.
But not one person in our group was the least bit interested in using it. “Hit ‘em till you’re happy” was how we played it; score didn’t matter – pride did.
Now you’d think you’d get a break from this kind of excitement on the next hole.
But, oh no…the par 5, #8 and #1 handicap hole for men, had an even longer carry and to make matters worse/better, you had no idea what lay beyond edge of the cliff.
It was at this hole where you could see that McBroom took into consideration the average driving distance of most women golfers. The forward (Sage) tees were across the canyon in a safe zone.
However, that didn’t make this hole easy. Even from the forward tees, you were faced with a blind shot.
Imagine how happy I was after hitting what I thought was a great shot, only to discover it landed in an arroyos that almost split the fairway in half.
I’m not sure if I should blame Thomas or Mother Nature for that double bogey.
The back nine was my favorite. It didn’t give me quite the same feeling of exhilaration as the front 9, but there were a lot of fun/challenging holes and beautiful vista views from many of elevated tee boxes.
I particularly loved the #2 handicap hole for men and women, the par 5 13th. I loved how it curved around to the left all downhill to a well protected green.
Tobiano’s Par 5 13th Takes You Down Toward Kamloops Lake
Par felt really good on this hole. From a women’s perspective, Tobiano provided nice risk/reward challenges on holes 15 and 17; where McBroom offers two forward tee choices.
This impressed me. So often, course architects don’t really consider higher handicappers when designing tee boxes. This usually results in boring holes with little or no challenge off the forward tees.
Having Appropriately Challenging Tee Choices Makes For A Much More Enjoyable Round
But McBroom didn’t do that. He gave everyone at all skill levels a chance to take a chance, and I really liked that.
After our round, we headed to the clubhouse for drinks and appetizers and were delighted to see the open air atmosphere the garage doors provide to diners.
I was also very impressed with the food, wine and service. It is definitely up there with the best 19th holes I’ve enjoyed over the years.
The Simple Yet Elegant Clubhouse At Tobiano Offers Outstanding Food, Wine And Service
It was pretty busy the day we played Tobiano, and I’m usually a stickler for pace of play, grumbling when I have to wait between shots or at the tee box.
But at Tobiano I was thankful we had time to savour the breathtaking views, take lots of pictures and enjoy the company of new friends.
When I asked my golfguy what he thought at the end of the day, he gave me a big smile and said, “It was worth the drive”.
Enough said…we’ll be back!